Pronounced: In-tra-ven-tric-ooh-lar Hem-or-age of In-fan-see
Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) is bleeding into the spaces of a baby’s brain. IVH is most common in premature babies.
IVH may cause damage to brain tissue and lead to long-term development problems.
Ventricles of the Brain
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IVH is caused by the rupture of immature or fragile blood vessels in the brain. It is not clear why this happens but changes in blood pressure may play a role.
Factors that increase your baby’s chance of developing IVH include:
It often occurs in the first 48 hours after birth. In many cases, there are no visible signs of IVH. Symptoms that may occur include:
A physical exam will be done. The doctor will look for any signs of a brain injury.
An ultrasound will be used to make images of the brain structures, blood vessels, and blood flow in the brain.
Other tests, like blood tests, may be done to look for anemia and causes of the bleeding.
In most cases, the bleeding gradually stops. Treatment options include:
Certain procedures or surgery may need to be done to relieve pressure in the brain:
If you are at risk of having a premature baby, you may be given medication to decrease the chance of IVH.
American Academy of Neurology
American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Pediatric Society
Ballabh P. Intraventricular hemorrhage in premature infants: mechanism of disease. Pediatr Res. 2010;67(1):1-8.
Cunningham FG, Leveno KJ, Bloom SL, et al. Diseases and injuries of the fetus and newborn. In: Obstetrics . 23rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Books; 2010:605-645.
Intraventricular hemorrhage. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childre... . Accessed June 24, 2013.
Intraventricular hemorrhage in infancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated March 24, 2011. Accessed June 24, 2013.
Fowlie PW, Davis PG, McGuire W. Prophylactic intravenous indomethacin for preventing mortality and morbidity in preterm infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;7.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013